Five Key Findings From Pew’s Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation

This week Pew Research Center unveiled its yearly deep dive into long term party affiliation trends in the U.S. Pew’s data – which is the result of the aggregation of over 450,000 interviews since 1992 and over 25,000 in 2014 – and offers unique insight into the relationship between demographics and partisanship. Five key findings on some of the most interesting differences based on race, religion, age, and education from this research are below:

Finding #1: Asian-Americans are the second strongest Democratic constituency behind black voters.

Usually too difficult to examine in a single poll because of small sample sizes, aggregate data show that Asians Americans largely affiliate with the Democratic Party. Notably – and this may be surprising to some – Asian-Americans are more likely to identify as Democrats than Hispanics.


Finding #2: The religiously unaffiliated are also politically unaffiliated.

Half of religiously unaffiliated adults (50%) identify as Independents which is much higher than those affiliated with a religion, including Jewish Americans (33%), Catholic Americans (37%), Mormons (35%) and White Evangelicals (34%). This is an important group to watch for long term future trends given the religiously unaffiliated population in North America is expected to increase 89% by 2050, according to recent data from Pew’s The Future of World Religions report.


Finding #3: The share of Americans who self-identify as Republican is the lowest it has been since 1980.

As in 1980, Republicans represent 23% of the American public in 2014. The GOP saw spikes in identification in the Reagan years and Clinton years, but has seen a decline since the party’s most recent peak in 2004 (30%).

Percentage of Americans who say they are


Finding #4: The Millennial generation leans toward the Democrats for two reasons.

Millennials continue to lean toward the Democratic Party (51% Democrat/35% Republican), while older generations are less Democratic. This trend is driven by two reasons 1) the fact that 43% of Millennials are not white – more than any previous generation; and 2) while White Millennials are divided on party affiliation, they are still more likely to identify as Democrats than older Whites.


Finding #5: Those with a post-graduate degree have fled the Republican Party in recent years.

Over the last decade, the share of Americans with a post-graduate degree who identify with the Republican Party has dropped. Republicans’ share of post-graduates has decreased from 44% in 2002 to 36% in 2014.


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